With almost every step toward reform that the EU has taken since the crisis began, the jurisdiction of the European Commission has grown. The so-called European Semester entitles Barroso to set targets for national budgets. They go into effect automatically, unless the affected country organizes a majority opposing the targets in the Council of Ministers.


During the financial crisis, Barroso came across as a secondary player, but now he is increasingly developing into an equal -- and not always to the delight of the person who helped create him, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel was instrumental in getting Barroso appointed, joining European conservatives to overcome the objection of then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

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